For me travelling smart is to –
1. Travel light
2. Spend smartly yet have the right destinations covered
3. Have fun
4. Be on move without getting stressed out
5. Travel to a destination as if you are travelling only for once
6. Plan in such a way so that you waste minimum number of leaves for the travel.
Rajasthan has been my dream destination throughout. Not only for its palaces and desert but also it culture, merchandise and food. Added to that if we get a chance to see their festivals that will always be bonus for me.
Since our company holiday calendar is given at the beginning of the year it is always easy for me to plan for future. Durga Puja and Dusserah is always the best time for us Bengalis to travel and this year we get longer weekend to make it easy for me to travel. That means wasting of less number of earned leaves I can travel to my dream destination. Problem with travel to a place like Rajasthan is one needs at least two weeks of time for the travel and as the hotels are expensive the entire tour becomes expensive.
So another challenge is to keep the travel within budget and that can be achieved by meticulous planning and utilization of time.
This year I have chosen the Dusserah time in October to travel to Rajasthan as thanks to our holiday schedules I am getting off on 2nd, 3rd and 6th October and the weekend days to make my trip a great success with minimum number of leaves taken. Since I will be in Hyderabad for office work during that time I have quickly made a plan to travel to Rajasthan from there. Here is a snapshot of the plans –
1. From Hyderabad to Bikaner –
2. From Bikaner back to Hyderabad via Ujjain –
While planning smart I have kept the following things in mind –
1. Have maximum travels by train AC III tier to have comfort and also to save costs
2. Whole night travel by train to save hotel costs
3. To cover maximum prominent sight seeing destinations within stipulated timeframe.
4. Have comfort of sight-seeing by booking non ac (October will not need AC cabs) Indica cabs for comfort of travel at economic rates. Better to have another family of two with us to share cab costs.
5. Book decent 3-star accommodations in the entire route of journey.
6. Have train rides only for whole night journey, so that the maximum day time can be spent on travel and related experience.
7. Keep evenings for exotic destinations, shopping etc.
8 Have sufficient funds in reserve for buying Rajasthani artifacts and experience other things there.
9. Have a circular path followed and travel by train only in nights to cover more destinations within the same budget and time.
10. Use cab for city transfer in such a way so that while for the day’s travel sight-seeing destinations of both the places are covered. This will minimize travel time and give maximum travel experience.
Here’s a quick look at the smart budget planned for the trip of my small family –
I will keep another 25,000 for miscellaneous expenses, purchasing merchandise and any other unforseen costs. So my total budget for this tour will be Rs. 100,000. Can you find any other tour operator that will give you a tour of so many destinations at such a great price??
Any smart travel is incomplete without proper accessories. These help in not only travel light but travel with ease and happiness. Keeps many problems away. These are must take items that one can’t forget –
The much needed smart travel accessories
Apart from normal medicines for ourselves, we need to take immunization against Typhoid, Meningitis, Hepatitis A and B, Japanese encephalitis since this is a long tour to Rajasthan. Some other medicine like Electrolyte will also help in dehydration. Glucon D is another medicine and Dabur Lal Tel is a oil that will help us keep our cool.
First stopover for us will be at Wardha which is a journey of one night from Secundrabad railway station. The plan here is to use 1st October as working day in office and then catch the train on 1st October night and reach Wardha the nest morning. Since we will catch another train for Surat on 2nd night and there is no hotel stay planned in Wardha, we will freshen ourselves up in the AC compartment of the train itself. In this journey whenever there is no plan for a stopover we will save our cost this way and travel smart. Idea is to explore maximum places at minimum cost and with wasting minimum energy.
The main attraction in Surat is Surat Castle. However, as we like natural beauty the most we would prefer enjoying the Gira waterfalls the most. Apart from that, historical places like Dandi and Bardoli will also keep us hooked. Not to miss the temples and museum for some extra pie. But I would like to keep the museum at the end as I don’t mind missing the same for the historical or natural glimpses.
Udaipur is city of palaces. The Udaipur palace, Lake palace and Jag mandir will be of primary attraction to us. Since we will spend two complete days here and on third day we will get some time to visit some attractions while travelling to Jodhpur by cab, we will make our sightseeing plan accordingly.
Jodhpur is the second largest city in Rajasthan. Out of the many places of interest there the palaces, Mehargarh Fort and Jaswant Thada will be top on my radar.
Another importance of travelling to Jodhpur during 7th and 8th October to me will be to enjoy the Marwar festival at Jodhpur. This year in 2014 the festival dates are 7-8 October and I will be present at Jodhpur on 7th October. Hope this will bring a very useful essence of Rajasthani culture to us.
No tour in Rajasthan can be complete without experiencing the desert. Desert that we will get in Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur that can definitely add a wow experience to this trail. Not to mention that Jaisalmer palaces too will add to attraction.
After Jaisalmer we will travel to Bikaner by Jaisalmer – Hwh SF Exp. This train reaches Bikaner early morning. Apart from Junagarh Fort and Lalgar Palace I will be interested to see the Camel breeding farm there. There are some other temples in Bikaner but since our travel time in Bikaner is short I don’t mind missing a few other things.
Lalgarh Palace lighitng
Jaipur is the capital city of Rajasthan and biggest city in terms of population, richest in terms of heritage and historical places. My visit to Jaipur thus is for a longer duration compared to other places in Rajasthan.
We will take Shatabdi Express to Ajmer as that will cost us less compared to taking a cab. Not sure if we can experience the Pushkar fair but will definitely enjoy the lake and Dargah Sharif there.
Chambal, notorious for its decoits many of whom have become legends today, have a beautiful garden. Apart from that Jag mandir and Kota Barage are also attractions that can’t be missed.
Next day morning we will check out from our hotel and go out for sight seeing with our luggage. We will keep our luggage in the taxi while we go around. Our main focus in Chittaurgarh will be Chittaurgarh Fort, Rana Kumbha Palace and Rani Padmini Palace. If this doesn;t take away our entire day on Thursday then we will go for the museum and some shopping around.
Thursday night we will catch JP NGP Exp From Chittaurgarh to Ujjain.
These temples give us much needed relaxation and takes us away from the hustle and bustle of our city life.
This is why we will have one day relaxation stay at Ujjain on Saturday to de-stress ourselves completely after our long travel. This is only to recharge ourselves for the next hectic schedule of our mundane corporate life.
We will start our smart travel with Sai Baba’s blessings at Wardha ashram and will end our journey with blessings from Ujjain’s Mahakaleshwar’s temple.
Disclaimer – None of the images except the excel tables used in this article belong to the author. The author has collected them from the internet and from different websites.